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Corruption scandal hits China's aviation sector

by Staff Writers
Beijing June 28, 2010
Two executives at state-owned China Southern Airlines have been detained as part of a wide-ranging probe into corruption in the aviation industry, state media said Monday. Investigators took away the two managers, who work in the department charged with flight scheduling, in a deepening scandal that has already felled seven company employees and a number of government officials, the China Business News said, citing unnamed sources at the airline. The employees are suspected of accepting bribes from airlines in exchange for approving new flight routes and landing and departure slots, it said. The crackdown on corruption in the aviation industry began at the end of 2009 and has snared other high-ranking officials including the former chairman of Capital Airport Holding Company and the head of the Civil Aviation Administration's (CAAC) north China bureau, the report said. Liu Yajun, another senior official at CAAC, committed suicide last week by laying down on railway tracks. The paper suggested the incident may be related to investigations into graft. The Beijing Youth Daily also reported Monday that Kuang Xin, an official at the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning agency, had been detained on suspicion of taking bribes in airport construction and aircraft procurement deals. Corruption is widespread in China despite repeated crackdowns and warnings from the nation's top leaders, including President Hu Jintao, that it threatens the Communist Party's ability to rule.

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